The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Foundation has received a generous $30,000 gift for two scholarships to be established in Dr. Kenneth Petress’ name. Dr. Petress was a Professor Emeritus of Communication with the University. The gift was presented this summer by Dr. Richard Asam, Professor Emeritus of Communication, a long-time colleague of Dr. Petress and the executor of his estate.
Dr. Petress served as a Professor of Communication at UMPI from 1988 to 2002. During his time at the University, he served in many capacities, including as coordinator of the communication, literature and science departments. He dedicated his life to learning and teaching others.
“We are so pleased to be able to continue the educational legacy Dr. Petress established during his many years at the University,” President Don Zillman said. “These scholarships will provide deserving students with excellent opportunities, whether they are focused in an English or Humanities major, or they are non-traditional students choosing to return to college.”
Dr. Petress was born on Nov. 1, 1939, in Chicago, the son of Charles and Margaret (French) Petress. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Dr. Petress earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1977 and a Master of Arts degree in communication in 1979 from Northern Illinois University. He received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1988.
Dr. Petress began his teaching career as an instructor in the computer science department for Bryant
& Stratton College, 1965-1968, as well as CBS Holt schools, 1969-1971. He taught at many different levels, including in the People’s Republic of China on many occasions. He finished his career as a professor in the English and Fine Arts department at the University.
At times throughout his career, Dr. Petress was also called into administrative positions, including serving as the assistant director of the computer science department for CBS Holt schools and teleprocessing supervisor of the computer science department for Northern Illinois University. He also conducted several workshops and spoke at various seminars related to his field. He was a well-respected educator. Dr. Petress passed away on May 21, 2010.
The Dr. Kenneth Petress Memorial Scholarship will be available to full-time, upper-class students in good academic standing who are majoring in English and the Humanities. Preference will be given to students studying in the field of Professional Communication.
The Kenneth Petress Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students will support non-traditional age students, 25 years or older, who are uncertain about the college degree experience but would like the opportunity to try a college course in a supportive environment. The scholarship will cover the cost of a course at the University, including tuition and fees.
For more information or to contribute to the fund, please contact UMPI’s Office of Development at 768-9568.